Review By: Darth Phenom

MASTURBATION. The excitation of one's own or another's genital organs, usually to orgasm, by manual contact or means other than sexual intercourse. Yes, despite whatever moral or religious beliefs some may claim to strictly adhere to, the universal truth is this: everyone be they Michael Jackson, Helen Hunt, Pope John Paul II or Prince Charles has either thought about or participated in this completely natural, yet so unnecessarily over-publicised activity. The perfect safe sex deterrent, some might say, or those of us (who probably make up the bulk of our suspected readership) who have never had sexual intercourse since the Golden Age of the Great Reagan Administration, provides us with the ideal instant gratification we desire and also makes up approximately a third of the world's economy. You may wonder what this subject has to do with this series...well, nothing actually. I can honestly tell you it has nothing to do with the actions of my left hand when I am treated to gaze upon the likes of the virtually unknown yet attractive female cast of this series.

Right. From the very poll on the show's website concerning the values of attending your school's senior prom you'll automatically deduce that Popular is aimed at a very mature, discerning audience. Basically a sort of halfway house between Sweet Valley High and Beverley Hills 90210. However, this series can only be described as a waste of potential. What it claims to do is to depict a group of teens suffering from the angst brought on by hours of Papa Roach listening and to "take a look at what's really going on inside". Not a bad idea, I think you'll agree. And with some more original and imaginative writing (not to mention some of that unknown cast flashing their assets now and then) it just might have worked.

However, the writers instead have chosen to drag it down to the murky depths of Saved By The Bell-clonedom with utterly juvenile and downright nonsensical rubbish, such as slumber parties where one of the girls painfully tries to get the attentions of some washed up high school football player, yet ends up sprouting werewolf-like hair on her armpits to the amusement of the other girls.

Now for the usual so-and-so. The 'action' of the earlier episodes of the first season basically revolve around two girls: the attractive ever popular Brooke (Leslie Bibb) and the intelligent, attractive yet strangely unpopular Sam (Carly Pope). These two do not get along whatsoever but unfortunately it never gets beyond simple juvenile bitchy arguing. Because their respective mother and father end up having an affair they're later forced to move in together and in a completely unexpected plot twist they - surprise, surprise - end up the best of friends.

I'm afraid you'll have to excuse me for I don't watch the show as frequently as I should in order to write a completely informed and unbiased review but nonetheless, things barely pick up. There was quite a decent episode though, concerning Sam and a tennis player about fifteen years her senior but overall, I'm afraid to say it's simply a regurgitated kidney pie of unoriginal mediocrity.

In the newer episodes things generally pan out among the entire group of friends and there are some genuinely funny moments. I suppose I really shouldn't be wasting my time with rubbish such as this at my age since it's clearly aimed at preteen girls (and pedophiles) and no doubt they must be rushing to their television sets with the eagerness of a virgin male rabbit who has just been informed the mating season is now officially underway, whilst the latest N*Sync single blares in the background. And so, I suppose aimed at that age group, it probably might hit quite high on the quality meter. But over here on the ever proud QUALITY METER OF SHIT it earns itself a whopping 6 out of 9 stars. Or a D. Or 52.69%. I really don't know. If you're like me you'll watch it for the masturbation factor, I guess. FUX0R.

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